Dialogue April-June, 2015, Volume 16 No. 4
China in the Neighbourhood: Strategic Inferences for Northeast India
The strategic significance of Northeast India from an Indian national security perspective cannot be over-emphasised. This landscape lies at the cusp (emphasis added) of Bangladesh, Bhutan, China and Myanmar with a terrain and ethnic character that is distinctive, challenging, picturesque and placid. “The strategic geography” is implicit with Chinese aggressive posturing across the Himalayas and Myanmar, coupled with cross-border non-state armed groups impacting daily life in this multifaceted landscape. The border and territorial disputes that led to the 1962 war have not disappeared with China continuing to stake claims on huge chunks of Indian territory (see Figure I). While the historical origin of that Chinese claim is based on manufactured antiquity, yet China continues to aggressively emphasize that history.1
The three interrelated factors of the Chinese strategic presence that I assess are: China’s infrastructure and defence capabilities; intrusions; and China’s presence in Myanmar. While the development of infrastructure may appear economic, yet it has an inherent strategic value as it prepares China to posture in ways it could not earlier in terms of deployment patterns and showcasing strength. This factor gets further augmented when interconnected to China’s strategic presence in Myanmar, given the latter’s geo-strategic location. China’s military presence in Tibet empowers it to move its forces to Indian border areas within the matrix of 24 to 48 hours. With improved air-bases, China is capable of increasing its sorties from a probability value
of 10 a day to about 60, which permits it to surge its airborne time ratio. These three factors have been specifically chosen and given priority over a range of other factors like local Northeast perceptions of Chinese claim; India’s Tibet policy; history of the border dispute; Myanmar-India relations, China-Nepal, etc.
Figure I: China’s Territorial Claim Areas
Source: Namrata Goswami
The first section of this article deals with three factors: infrastructure and military assets of China in Tibet; Chinese intrusions; and China’s presence in Myanmar. The second section of the article explains the Chinese strategic game plan, and offers certain inferences.
Threat Assessment-Mixed Signals
1. Infrastructure and Defence Assets
China and India had a busy 2014 at the border with standoffs and counter-moves, especially the latest being one of infrastructure building. China responded in kind with a new Tibetan railway line2 to the latest leap forward for infrastructure in the Northeast with the go ahead by the Union government, for four strategic railway lines, among others, to be laid close to the Chinese border (See Figure II). 3
Figure II: Infrastructure Projects in China-India Border Areas
Source: Namrata Goswami
Earlier the Indian approval for additional border patrol outposts elicited loaded warnings from China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA). 4 India laid plans to build an 1800 km Indo-China frontier road in Arunachal Pradesh, some of which is planned along the McMahon line.5 The proposed highway will pass through Tawang, East Kameng, Upper Subansiri, West Siang, Upper Siang, Dibang Valley, Desali, Chaglagam, Kibito, Dong, Hawai and Vijaynagar in bordering areas of Arunachal Pradesh.6
This latest road-planning by India is in similar territory as an earlier project of 2008 termed the trans-Arunachal Highway as well as a Rs.1,934 crore 2012 strategic road building projects sanctioned by the Ministry of Home for strategic road projects both in the Eastern and Western sectors of which about 200 km has barely made itself visible.7 This frantic effort at infrastructure building posits mixed signals on both sides about what the intentions are: are they purely defensive or could they be perceived as offensive from either side. Already, the Qinghai-Tibet railway has been utilized by China to transport PLA troops, arms and missiles. And if the PLA had cast a shadow on its President Xi’s visit8 to India, the later affirmation by India to build a road9 in Arunachal Pradesh along the McMahon Line (see Figure II) certainly alarmed China10 before a crucial border mechanism meeting11 got underway. Within Tibet, China has constructed railway lines from Lhasa to Shigatse (or Xigaze in Chinese), which has started functioning since August 15, 2014. Plans have been laid to build a line to the border with Arunachal Pradesh, in the region of Nyinchi (See Figure III). This is a 402km line that will run from Nyingchi to Xierong. Another railway line is being built to Yatung, near Sikkim. Interestingly, the boosting of infrastructure in Tibet is viewed as having strategic gains for China as it displays Chinese competence in building better infrastructure in Tibet compared to really weak infrastructure in Arunachal Pradesh.12
Bolstering such infrastructure at the border is China’s steady expansion of military capabilities centred in the plateau of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). China has been shooting for border dominance via military means and has built the required military infrastructure throughout the TAR. The operational objectives are to initiate and sustain intense ‘shock and awe’ type short campaigns against India. The military machine to achieve these objectives consists of land and air forces backed by stockpiled logistics and supplies. China has built road and rail networks in Tibet, which provide ground mobility to 400,000 PLA soldiers in the two military regions opposite India. It has deployed upgraded ballistic missiles, added several new dual use airfields in Tibet and expanded its military assets transport capability. Advanced Chinese fighter aircraft stationed in TAR are capable of operating at high altitudes.
What is however interesting to note is that in the overall scheme of China’s airpower there are no major air bases within short strike range of India. Rather, in the PLA’s battle strategy, the Indian air force assets across the LAC will be ideal targets for the PLA ballistic missiles stockpiled in underground tunnels built into the mountainside in Xinjiang and Tibet. These missiles are located in proximity to the LAC with ready access from the Western Tibet highway.
To destroy the supply logistics and transportation of Indian ground forces up to the LAC, the PLA plans include rocket artillery massed fire-assaults combined with air strikes. To war game out such a theatre, the PLA conducted its first joint Army-Air Force live-fire exercise on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau simulating the higher altitudes of the Himalayas in 2010.13 Interestingly, the Chinese military transported combat equipment for the exercise using the Qinghai-Tibet railroad, which was a first. Again a closer look at the level of PLAAF (PLA Air Force) component in these exercises were limited to roughly platoon sized detachments reflecting the absence of offensive strike and power projection air capabilities in the TAR. But certainly these exercises threw up a lot of smoke and noise intended for the Indians who had their ears pressed to the ground not far away.
Figure III: Chinese Activity in Tibetan Neighborhood
Source: Namrata Goswami
The real component of China’s operational strategy vis-à-vis India at the border are its missiles deployed to the Tibetan vicinity. Missiles can escape detection since they are housed in underground tunnels. Such tunnels exist in Yatung, in the Chumbi valley, close to Sikkim.14
Tibet offers a flat surface which augments motorized mobility, which China has exploited fully. China has deployed Main Battle Tanks (MBT) and infantry combat vehicles in Tibet in case there is a future conflict with India. As well as the mountainous region opposite Northeast India, MBTs have been hauled up and positioned along the LAC. On August 18, 2013, the Tibet Military Command (TMC) of the PLA conducted a wartime river-crossing support drill organized by an engineer regiment in the waters of the Yarlung Tsangpo River. The regiment conducted the drill with new-type heavy pontoon bridge equipment.15
Figure IV: Chinese Missile Deployment in the Tibetan Vicinity
Source: Namrata Goswami
The PLA’s ace card is however it’s Construction Corps workforce, a highly efficient and disciplined force that can roll out metaled roads during war. The PLA has an edge over the Indian Army at the LAC since it is not tasked to maintain a constant physical vigil, rather content with the usage of networked and remotely-controlled surveillance systems augmented with strategically built barren flat ground patches along the LAC to serve as helipads for deploying Rapid Reaction Forces (RRF) whenever required. The airborne RRF are strategically located within TAR and can be rapidly deployed within 48 hours on the LAC through the network of medium-lift and attack helicopters. The PLA uses high technology of optical fibre networked and remote-controlled real time surveillance systems at the LAC as opposed to the largely manned vigil of the Indian Army functioning under pressure to thwart incursions. Besides China has built large dual-use airports near the LAC opposite Northeast India at Shigatse Pingan, Lhasa, Nyingchi, and Qamdo.
The PLA has permanently deployed ballistic missiles in contiguous Chinese territory and within range of Northeast India like the underground storage complex for ground to air and surface to surface missiles at Bayizhen right near the LAC (See Figure IV). Another secret massive tunnel construction was reported at Yadong opposite Sikkim. These missiles can be targeted at Indian air and ground assets across the LAC.
In 2013, a Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) was signed between China and India during the visit of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to China.16 Both sides agreed to refrain from military offensives at the border and share information on military exercises near the LAC through regular border personnel meetings. The good news about the BDCA is that it institutionalizes the process of conflict management at the border, if and when intrusions take place. The bad news is that the agreement does not resolve the differing perceptions of the LAC itself. Hence, intrusions will continue to occur.
Pattern of Intrusions
What has been the pattern of China’s border intrusions? For one, it has occurred in both sectors. Second, it has increased in the last few years. For instance, Chinese intrusions across the LAC totalled 180 in 2011 and had a rising trend in 2012 going forward. Third, these intrusions are determined to make China’s presence felt at the LAC. Tense and dangerous situations kept lurking on the LAC in 2012. In May 2012, two PLA patrols comprising 50 soldiers reached Thangla, Chantze, in West Kameng District of the eastern sector only turning back after they met with Indian forces. 30 PLA soldiers crossed over to Asaphila in Arunachal Pradesh on May 19, 2012 and destroyed a patrol hut of the Indian forces.17 A PLA patrol painted China on the rocks near Charding-Nilung Nala in Demchok in Ladakh on July 8, 2012.18 Such events continued with further intrusions by China in the Trig Heights and Pangong Tso Lake.
In the spring of 2013, the border witnessed another altercation when a Chinese border patrol set up camp in the Ladakh sector of Jammu and Kashmir. The Chinese intrusion in the remote Daulat Beg Oldi sector may have, as is evident from the flag meeting minutes, been in retaliation of the Indian Army’s construction of a single watch tower along the LAC in Chumar division.19 Chumar, a remote village on Ladakh-Himachal Pradesh border, is claimed by the Chinese as its own territory and have been frequented by helicopter incursions almost every year. Chumar represents a Chinese vulnerability as it is the only area across the LAC to which the Chinese do not have direct access. On July 16, 2013, 50 PLA soldiers riding on horses and ponies crossed over into Chumar and staked their claims to the territory and only went back after a banner drill with the Indian border troops. This had been preceded by two Chinese helicopters violating Indian air space over Chumar on July 11, 2013. This intrusion coincided with India’s decision to raise a Mountain Strike Corp of 50, 000 along the China-India border.20
Figure V: Chinese intrusions across the LAC
Source: Namrata Goswami
The recent LAC standoff between the Chinese and Indian armies at Chumur, Ladakh ended after military and diplomatic consultations between India and China. That said there were more mixed signals of Chinese intentions vis-à-vis India. And mixed signals like in most other areas of human interaction is not a very encouraging omen for a robust and healthy relationship. After returning from India, the Chinese President Xi Jinping met with the PLA’s21 top brass to “address inefficiencies in the chain of command and that the Chinese military obey the orders of the President.”22 The Chinese government was quick to dismiss as ‘wild guesses,’ Indian ‘media reports,’ which tagged President Xi Jinping’s call to the PLA to prepare for ‘regional war in the age of Information Technology’ to the border issue and incidents. There were also ‘official rumors’ of the ‘imminent promotion of two loyal generals’23 to the key positions of vice president of the Central Military Commission and head of the military’s discipline commission. There was a follow-up meeting with the Chinese Military later where the Party Secretary i.e. Xi Jinping expounded ‘new chains of command to ensure reliability and faithfulness to the core leader.’ These actions are indicative that something is rotten24 in the State of Denmark.
It is interesting to zoom into certain telling facts in this episode. The Chumar intrusion incident was ‘ill timed’ before, throughout and after Xi’s visit to India. While Chinese officials told their Indian counterparts that the PLA troops have been directed to return to their original positions,25 the field commanders actually increased the number of soldiers locked in the standoff. The civilian ‘confrontation’ at Demchok happening simultaneously added a new dimension at the instigation of Chinese authorities, more likely the PLA. The added fact that Xi Jinping the absolute commander of the PLA, denied any knowledge of the PLA’s actions begs the question, if he is truly in full control of his military?26 The other side of the coin is that the Chinese President himself orchestrated the entire episode duplicitously, by talking peace in New Delhi while intruding the LAC in violation of peace, a tactic repeated last year in the simultaneous Depsang intrusion incident and Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to New Delhi. Other pronounced mixed signals from China include inflexibility to exchange maps27 with India showing the LAC alignments in the western and eastern sectors, which can go a long way to keep the peace.
Incursions into claimed Indian Territory by the PLA seem to be the manoeuvre of choice, to assert dominance taking advantage of an undemarcated international border and superior logistics versus the Indian military. In addition to incrementally gaining territory28 at the LAC, such underhanded tactics have the effect of psyching out settled populations near the LAC. As an illustration, in the past years, the PLA has been intruding inside Arunachal Pradesh (AP) at Chaglagam circle in Anjaw District (See Figure V). The LAC is located over 100 km by surface beyond the last ITBP patrol post with no motorable roads, which enables the PLA to cross over the border unchallenged. The latest incident happened in August 2013, when a large intruding Chinese patrol party armed with electro-shock and sophisticated weapons stayed put for several days in the abandoned Phomphom village.29
China’s “Second Coast”
The other threat that emanates for Northeast India is from China’s presence in Myanmar. Myanmar’s 2,276 km long30 coastline in the Bay of Bengal has the potential to provide the ‘second coast’ to China to reach the Indian Ocean and achieve strategic presence in the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. There have been reports of Chinese built31 SIGINT listening stations in the Andaman Sea at least at Manaung, Hainggyi, Zadetkyi and the Cocos Islands in Myanmar (See Figure VI). Chinese technicians and instructors32 have worked on radar installations in naval bases and facilities near Yangon, Moulmein and Mergui. Additional reports indicate that the Chinese maybe pushing Myanmar for a listening facility on Ramree Island, Rakhine State, which also holds the deep sea Kyaukpyu port developed for oil and gas transportation (See Figure VI). In 2010 Chinese warships33 on anti-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean made their first port call to Myanmar. China has discussed with President Thein Sein for the PLA Navy’s access to Myanmar’s territorial waters while patrolling the Indian Ocean specifically to provide naval escort and protection to its energy shipments and port facilities at Kyaukpyu in the Bay of Bengal.
Further north from Kyaukpyu port is the capital Sittwe of Rakhine State where China has assisted the Myanmar Navy build a naval base.34 Interestingly India’s northeast serving Kaladan River Multi modal transport system feeds off the Sittwe port being developed by India,35 being the closest to the Kolkata port. As per Indian Navy’s assessment China’s control of Myanmar’s ports from Sittwe in the north to Cheduba, Bassein and a string of other military assets on the ‘second coast’ can enable it to enforce anti-access/area denial to deny the Indian Navy the ability to operate in its littoral waters in the Bay of Bengal (See Figure VI).36 Such escalating scenarios have grave implications for Northeast.
Figure VI: Myanmar and the ‘Second Coast’ of China
Source: Namrata Goswami
India from clandestine arms shipments that pass through these waters for the insurgent groups in the region. Contraband arms shipments37 seized in the past from Chittagong port and Cox’s Bazaar in Bangladesh originated through arms traffickers in Cambodia and Thailand ports. The coastal border points between Bangladesh and Myanmar have become a haven for contraband arms transit due to inadequate patrolling of their huge coastline in the past by these two countries. These shipments can land on the coasts of South Bangladesh and Northwest Myanmar38 and then smuggled inland in smaller consignments into Northeast India (See Figure VII). The neighbouring transit State in Myanmar namely Rakhine has rampant ethnic strife and Chin has ethnic insurgencies and are not fully controlled by the Myanmar government.
Figure VII: Northeast India Arms Trafficking
Source: Namrata Goswami
There have been reports circulating in the local press of Myanmar39 of China pressing its proxy ethnic militia aka United Wa State Army (UWSA) soldiers from North Myanmar to be deployed in strength along the new Kyaukpyu-Kunming pipeline for security (See Figure VII). If such a scenario proves true on the ground, that would make any Indian security analyst sit up and take notice because of the UWSA’s infamous record of drug trafficking and contraband arms supplied to Northeast insurgents. Ironically, if China backed elements in Myanmar do get access to the Northeast’s borders, insurgent groups may have no further worries of elaborate transportation for purchased Chinese ordnance40 from Norinco and its illicit franchises in Wa areas of Myanmar.
Game Plans and Strategic Inferences
The overriding analyses is that while the military gap between India and China increases progressively, the Chinese delaying tactic is to decide the argument on territorial disputes in their favour when China can dictate terms. A corollary to this statement would be that China is purposefully keeping the border in a state of prolonged and active dispute in order to gain leverage over India and keep it on leash. This is the Chinese game plan to keep India mired in the border dispute and to use this ‘valuable strategic asset’ to coerce India’s foreign policy choices such as deter it from joining the US’s ‘China containment camp’ or cut India down to size and prevent it from gaining importance in South Asia. An extension of this ‘India containment’ strategy would be China’s heavily arming Pakistan including continuing support to its nuclear weapons programme to hem in India on two fronts.
The numerous rounds of border negotiations have achieved little till date due to geopolitics overriding final border settlement. As China’s Deng Xiaoping had famously once stated to put off resolution of the border dispute ‘for future generations to resolve,’ sums up the Chinese attitude.41 China has displayed a pattern42 of paying lip service to earlier agreements, which builds a mirage of commitment to resolution of security issues with India. However these feints and tactics lie exposed with incidents like the latest incursions in Chumur and last year’s Depsang incident in complete contradiction to existing good conduct border agreements. Another older example is Sikkim,43 showing the State as ‘Indian Territory’ in official Chinese maps, while playing cat and mouse with Sikkim’s status in China’s official pronouncements.
China’s game plan vis-à-vis India seems to be border coercive military manoeuvres and intimidated geopolitics. Indian military analysts have war gamed these scenarios,44 which include a two front war on India by China. This scenario has grave implications for the Northeast,45 where Chinese military will cut off the ‘Chicken’s Neck’ Siliguri corridor and invade the Eastern sector of the LAC to militarily annex China’s disputed territories in India with the added benefits of securing Tibet’s flank, easier access to Myanmar and direct land access to Bangladesh. This is of course a worst case scenario but something strategic planners cannot ignore given the reality of Chinese territorial claims.
Tibet has topped Chinese priorities46 and the border dispute with India is now a ‘core national interest’ of China.47 So, if the Chinese pursuit of ‘core national interests’ in the East China Sea and the South China Sea are any indication, the elevation of China’s territorial claims in the Northeast amongst others is a worrying development. There have already been indicators of updated Chinese policies with the latest official map48of China showing large chunks of Indian Territory, especially in Arunachal Pradesh, inside that country’s borders.
China has a history of waging proxy wars against India49 through support for the insurgencies of the Northeast notably the Naga National Council (NNC) and the Mizo National Front (MNF) of bygone days. Certain recent sporadic incidents of Chinese entanglement with the NSCN (IM)50 leaders show how this option can be re-activated against India. ULFA’s anti-talk armed faction has training camps in China,51 while its ‘commander-in-chief’ Paresh Barua slips in and out of ULFA’s camps in Myanmar52 bordering the Northeast.
The Bottom Line Factors
To put a finger squarely on what China really wants from India and bottom line Chinese actions vis-à-vis the Northeast, certain historical facts hold vital clues to present events leading to future predictions. In the 1962 Sino-India border war, China after capturing all of its claimed Indian Territories withdrew unilaterally to its position above the McMahon Line in the Northeast, while not withdrawing from its conquered territory in Aksai Chin. This is a clear indication that China, while challenging the legality of the border DOES accept the de facto status of the McMahon Line. It is now rather obvious that these incursions are the means to keep the dispute alive and press China’s point of view on the Indians, which will only subside with a final border delimitation.
The other significant factor that needs emphasis is that China continues to intrude into Indian territory on the basis that there are ‘differing perceptions’ of the LAC as determined by absence of a common understanding between China and India over the exact location of this border. This particular assertion of vague and differing perceptions is surprising given that both China and India signed two critical agreements on ‘Maintaining of Peace and Tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control in the India-China Border Areas’ in 199353 and ‘Confidence Building Measures in the Military Field along the Line of Actual Control in India-China Border Areas’ in 1996.54 If the LAC is the basis of these important agreements, there has to be firm understanding between both sides on where that border line is when they signed onto these agreements. Therefore, to now argue that there are ‘differing perceptions’ is rather spurious. It is rather surprising that India buys onto the Chinese argument of vague and differing perceptions of the LAC as that permits China to cross the LAC into Indian territory at will and provoke India militarily at the border.
In 2005, India and China during border negotiations agreed not to disturb ‘settled populations’ as a guiding principle for delimitation. Soon afterwards there were increasing PLA patrol intrusions into Arunachal Pradesh and intimidation of Indian citizens living in border villages that are happening to this day as illustrated earlier. All these goes on to show that while carrying on negotiations with India for tactical reasons of delaying time for a China favourable resolution, at the strategic level, China will continue to visibly demonstrate its claims on territory to keep the pressure on India to remain cautious. Because for China, the 1962 border war and the strategic vulnerability that India faces in the Northeast vis-à-vis China is India’s Achilles heel to be exploited to keep the pressure on. And as Sun Tzu had said so many centuries ago; to use the enemy’s ‘weakness’ against itself is the best strategy.
The fundamental question to ask is whether this strategy of China is working in its favour vis-à-vis India. I would argue that this Chinese aggressiveness is a counterproductive strategy and is detrimental to the Chinese aspiration of influencing other Asian countries with its soft power. It reflects strategic short-sightedness and vindicates heavily the ‘China threat’ discourse amongst its neighbours thereby creating paranoia about China’s rise and its intentions. This Chinese strategy creates support for the creation of a countervailing alliance against China amongst its neighbours. There is an urgent need for China to rethink on its strategy of provocation which is propelling its neighbours to join alliances based on the strategy of limiting China’s rise; something that most Chinese strategic thinkers accuse the West of orchestrating with little understanding that it is China’s own actions that might be propelling these counter-moves.
1. Namrata Goswami, “The “Myth” behind China’s Territorial Claims: Implications for Northeast India,” Society for the Study of Peace and Conflict, September 09, 2014 at http://www.sspconline.org/issuebrief/ChinasTerritorialClaimsandNortheastIndia (Accessed on November 02, 2014).
2. For more see “China Approves New Railway for Tibet,” at http://english.cri.cn/12394/2014/10/31/3685s850380.htm (Accessed November 1, 2014)
3. For more see Avishek G. Dastidar, “Government gives go-ahead to 4 strategic rail lines along China border,” The Indian Express, October 22, 2014 at http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/government-gives-go-ahead-to-4-strategic-rail-lines-along-china-border/99/ (Accessed on October 22, 2014)
4. For more see, Ananth Krishnan, “China’s People’s Liberation Army asks India to ‘not complicate’ boundary issue” India Today, October 30, 2014 at http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/china-people-liberation-army-asks-india-to-not-complicate-boundary-issue/1/398286.html (Accessed on October 31, 2014)
5. “India to build 1800-km highway along China border in Arunachal,” The Indian Express, October 15, 2014 at http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/india-to-build-highway-along-china-border-in-arunanchal/ (Accessed on October 26, 2014).
7. Namrata Goswami, “Strategic Road-Building along the China-India Border,” IDSA Strategic Comments, June 07, 2012 at http://www.idsa.in/idsacomments/StrategicRoadBuildingangalongtheIndiaChinaborder_NamrataGoswami_070612
(Accessed on October 24, 2014).
8. For more see ‘Incursion by China during President Xi’s visit ‘uncommon’: Indo-Tibetan Border Police,’ The Economic Times, October 22, 2014 at http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-10-22/news/55318994_1_itbp-president-xi-jinping-chinese-president (Accessed on October 30, 2014)
9. For more see ‘India to go ahead with Arunachal road project,’ The Assam Tribune, October 17, 2014 at http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/detailsnew.asp?id=oct1814/at050 (last accessed on October 30, 2014)
10. For more see, Saibal Dasgupta, “China alarmed, tells India not to complicate border situation with new road,” The Times of India, October 15, 2014 at http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/China-alarmed-tells-India-not-to-complicate-border-situation-with-new-road/articleshow/44826891.cms (last accessed on October 30, 2014)
11. For more see ‘India, China hold talks on border mechanism for 2nd day,’ The Economic Times, October 17, 2014 at http://articles.economi
ctimes.indiatimes.com/2014-10-17/news/55148429_1_border-mechanism-oceanic-affairs-ouyang-yujing (accessed on October 17, 2014)
12. Ananth Krishnan, “China Moves Forward with Tibet Rail Extension, Rail Line will Run Close to Border with Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh after New Expansion Plan,” India Today, November 02, 2014 at http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/china-moves-forward-with-tibet-rail-extension-border-with-sikkim-arunachal/1/398801.html (Accessed on October 21, 2014). For more on this, please see Monika Chansoria, “China’s Infrastructure Development in Tibet Evaluating Trendlines,” Manekshaw Paper, No. 32, 2011 at http://www.claws.in/images/publication_pdf/1317312941MP%2032%20inside.pdf (Accessed on November 05, 2014).
13. “China’s Military Drill in Tibet,” Reuters and CCTV Videos, April 3, 2010 at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JqraQsXAwo (Accessed on December 5, 2013).
14. For more on this aspect, see Hans M. Kristensen, “Extensive Nuclear Missile Deployment Area Discovered in Central China,” Federation of American Scientist Strategic Security Blog, May 15, 2008 at http://blogs.fas.org/security/2008/05/extensive-nuclear-deployment-area-discovered-in-central-china/(Accessed on December 3, 2013).
15.“New-type Heavy Pontoon Bridge Commissioned,” People’s Daily, August 14, 2013 at http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90786/8363343.html
(Accessed on November 27, 2013). Also see Claude Arpi, “Crossing Rivers and Mountains,” August 15, 2013 at http://claudearpi.blogspot.in/2013/08/crossing-rivers-and-mountains.html (Accessed on November 8, 2014).
16- “Border Defence Cooperation Agreement between India and China,” Beijing, October 23, 2013 at http://pmindia.gov.in/press-details.php?nodeid=1726 (Accessed on November 26, 2013).
17. Saurabh Shukla, “Growing Intrusions by the Chinese Army on the LAC Has Set Alarm Bells Ringing in South Block. Can the Indian Army Maintain Restrain?” Mail Today, October 16, 2012 at http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/sino-indian-border-dispute-chinese-army-intrusions/1/224923.html (Accessed on November 25, 2013).
19. PTI “Face-offs Continue; China has Built 5km Road Inside Indian Territory,” The Times of India, May 26, 2013 at http://articles. timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-05-26/india/39537733_1_chumar-indian-army-daulat-beg-oldi (Accessed on November 23, 2013).
20. PTI, “50 Chinese Soldiers on Horses Intruded into Indian Territory,” The Hindu, July 21, 2013 at http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/world/50-chinese-soldiers-on-horses-intruded-into-indian-territory/artic
le4937859.ece (Accessed on November 28, 2013).
21. For more see ‘Xi stresses military headquarters’ loyalty to Party’, at http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2014-09/22/c_133663216.htm (accessed on October 30,2014)
22. For more see, Ananth Krishnan, “China’s military told ‘to follow Xi Jinping’s instructions,” India Today, September 21, 2014, at http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/china-military-told-to-follow-xi-jinping-instructions/1/384200.html (accessed on October 30, 2014)
23. For more see ‘PLA reshuffle strengthens Xi Jinping’s hand in corruption fight,’ at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1597643/pla-reshuffle-strengthens-xi-jinpings-hand-corruption-fight (Accessed on October 30, 2014)
24. For more see, Cathy Wong, “PLA ideology struggles ‘acute,’ Global Times, October 23, 2014 at http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/887801.shtml (Accessed on October 29, 2014). Also see Gordon G. Chang, “The Real Threat from China’s Military: Going Rouge,” The National Interest, September 26, 2014 at http://nationalinterest.org/feature/the-real-threat-chinas-military-going-rogue-11356 (Accessed on November 07, 2014).
25. For more see ‘Chinese incursion in Ladakh: A little toothache can paralyze entire body, Modi tells Xi Jinping,’ The Times of India, September 20, 2014 at http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Chinese-incursion-in-Ladakh-A-little-toothache-can-paralyze-entire-body-Modi-tells-Xi-Jinping/articleshow/42940337.cms (Accessed on October 30, 2014)
26. For more see, Hiroyuki Akita, “The myth of China’s strategic shrewdness,” at http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/International-Relations/The-myth-of-China-s-strategic-shrewdness (Accessed on October 30,2014)
27. For more see, Brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal (retd), “What the Chinese gameplan against India is,” Rediff, April 24, 2013 at http://www.rediff.com/news/column/what-the-chinese-gameplan-against-india-is/20130424.htm (Accessed on October 03, 2014)
28. For more see, Brahma Chellany, “China’s salami-slicing strategy,” Japan Times, July 25, 2013 at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2013/07/25/commentary/world-commentary/chinas-salami-slice-strategy/#.U-h4_uOSyxo (Last accessed on July 17, 2014)
29. For more see, “PLA soldiers still camping in Arunachal,” Echo of Arunachal, August 22, 2013 at http://www.echoofarunachal.com/?p=39940 (Last accessed on August 03, 2014). Also see Nishit Dholabhai,
“After Border, a Village, Not Vigilante Post- Arunachal Hamlet tells ITBP to Move Closer to McMahon Line after Chinese Incursions,” The Telegraph, October 25, 2009 at http://www.telegraphindia.com/1091025/jsp/nation/story_11655832.jsp (Accessed on November 03, 2014).
30. For more see, Lixin Geng, “Sino-Myanmar Relations: Analysis and Prospects," The Bulletin of the Centre for East-West Cultural and Economic Studies, 7/2, 2007 at http://www.international-relations.com/CM7-2WB/Sino-Myanmar.htm (Accessed on October 19,2014)
31. For more see, Bertil Lintner, “Myanmar’s Chinese Connection,” at http://www.asiapacificms.com/articles/myanmar_chinese_connection/ (Accessed on August 24, 2014)
32. For more see, “China’s Ambitions in Myanmar,’ at http://www.asiapacificms.com/articles/myanmar_influence/ (Accessed on October 23, 2014)
33. For more see, Aung Zaw, “Irrawaddy: Is Burma China’s satellite state? The answer is yes,” BurmaNet News, March 27, 2011 at http://www.burmanet.org/news/2011/05/27/irrawaddy-is-burma-chinas-satellite-state-the-answer-is-yes-aung-zaw/ (Accessed on July 30, 2014)
34. For more see, Tony Allison, “Myanmar shows India the road to Southeast Asia,” Asia Times, September 21, 2001 at http://www.atimes.com/reports/CB21Ai01.html#top5 (accessed on October 30, 2014)
35. For more see, Graham Lees, “India and China Compete for Burma’s Resources,” World Politics Review, August 21, 2006 at http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/129/india-and-china-compete-for-burmas-resources (Accessed on July 30, 2014)
36. Author discussion with Indian Naval Officers, New Delhi, 2014.
37. For more see, Ramtanu Maitra, “India Bids to Rule the Waves: From the Bay of Bengal to the Malacca Strait,” The Asia Pacific Journal, at http://www.japanfocus.org/-Ramtanu-Maitra/1610 (Accessed on September 15, 2014)
38. For more see, Anthony Davis, “Jane’s Intelligence Review offers another take on the arms haul case,” Dhaka Tribune, January 30, 2014 at http://www.dhakatribune.com/crime/2014/jan/30/jane-intelligence-review-offers-another-take-arms-haul-case (Accessed on August 21, 2014)
39. For more see, Saw Yan Naing, “Despite Denials, UWSA Owns Helicopters: Military, Business Sources,” The Irrawaddy, August 08, 2013 at http://www.irrawaddy.org/burma/despite-denials-uwsa-owns-helicopters-military-business-sources.html (Accessed on October 23, 2014)
40. For more see, “NSCN’s Cox’s Bazar armsdrop plan revealed” at http://bdnews24.com/bangladesh/2014/04/01/nscn-s-cox-s-bazar-armsdrop-plan-revealed (Accessed on October 23, 2014)
41. See Kanwal, n. 38.
42. For more see, Brahma Chellaney, “China’s game plan to keep India on the back foot” Mint, July 30, 2013 at http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/RQ477pBeAEWGgsbmQ2FaCL/New-Delhi-and-Chinas-game-plan.html?utm_source=ref_article (Accessed on October 03, 2014).
43. For more see, Rajat Pandit, “China using Sikkim to push Arunachal claim?” The Economic Times, April 06, 2008 at http://articles. economictimes.indiatimes.com/2008-04-06/news/27704289_1_sikkim-and-tibet-sikkim-state-intrusions-by-chinese-troops
(Accessed on October 12, 2014)
44. Interview with Indian military personnel, Delhi and Hyderabad, October 2014. Names withheld on request of interviewees.
45. For more see, Ankit Panda, “Geography’s Curse: India’s Vulnerable ‘Chicken’s Neck," The Diplomat, November 08, 2013 at http://thediplomat.com/2013/11/geographys-curse-indias-vulnerable-chickens-neck/(accessed on September 23, 2014)
46. For more see, Sarvjeet Singh, “China dreams a muscular dream” at http://www.niticentral.com/2013/10/08/china-dreams-a-muscular-dream-143249.html (last accessed on October 31, 2014)
47. For more see, Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury, “Border dispute with India now part of China’s ‘core national interests,” The Economic Times, September 26, 2014 at http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-09-26/news/54353341_1_indian-army-boundary-dispute-pla (accessed on October 31, 2014)
48. For more see, “New China map shows Arunachal Pradesh as part of Tibet,” India Today, June 28, 2014 at http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/china-map-shows-arunachal-pradesh-as-part-of-tibet/1/369022.html (Accessed on July 15, 2014.
49. See Bertil Lintner, Great Game East– India China and the struggle for Asia’s most volatile Frontier (New Delhi: HarperCollins: 2012, pp 3 -9;Chapters 2 & 3.
50. For more see, Pankaj Sarma, “Move to nail NSCN leader – NIA to grill China arms supplier,” The Telegraph, April 17, 2014 at http://www.telegraphindia.com/1140418/jsp/northeast/story_18252475.jsp#.VFMUIVdM69R (accessed on October 01, 2014)
51. For more see, “ULFA admits having camps in China,“India Today, November 09, 2009 at http://indiatoday.intoday.in/video/ULFA+admits+having+camps+in+China/1/71584.html (accessed on October 03, 2014)
52. For more see, Manoj Anand, “ULFA chief out of Myanmar for treatment,” Deccan Herald, August 01, 2014 at http://www.deccanchronicle.com/140801/nation-current-affairs/article/ulfa-chief-out-myanmar-treatment (accessed on September 21, 2014)
53. For a copy of the 1993 agreement, please see Swaran Singh, “Three Agreements and Five Principles between India and China” at http://ignca.nic.in/ks_41062.htm (Accessed on July 09, 2014).
54. For the 1996 agreement, see n. 66.
*Namrata Goswami, Research Fellow, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi; Disclaimer: The views presented in this article are solely those of the author.